learn Winner / 2020

CARECEN's Parent and Youth Center

CARECEN's Parent and Youth Center

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Central American Resource Center-CARECEN-of California

CARECEN's Parent and Youth Center (PYC) provides leadership and civic engagement skills for immigrant parents and their children. Youth focus on academic enrichment, college admissions & financial aid process assistance to prepare in their transition to college. Parents learn about the intricacies of the Common Core standards and how to navigate the school systems to be effective advocates for their children. CARECEN believes that effective change comes from informed communities who have the tools necessary to advocate for quality education.


Has your proposal changed due to COVID-19?

CARECEN has a long history of responding to crises in Los Angeles and the Southern border. Whether it is providing support to refugees at the Southern border or defending the rights of immigrants during 1992 LA uprisings. Now we are providing support to our community during this pandemic. CARECEN is providing support to families experiencing hardships with the following services and programs:

  1. Immigrant Families Fund – We are providing immediate funding relief to our most vulnerable community members who are not captured by any of the safety nets available locally, statewide, and federally, including, asylum seekers, recently arrived migrant youth, undocumented families, refugee families, homeless migrants, and Day Laborers.
  2. Food Distribution – We are providing emergency food distribution to low-income immigrant/refugee families and Day Laborers through partnerships with local small businesses.
  3. Legal Services – Our offices are closed, but we are continuing to provide immigration legal services remotely through an essential team of legal staff.
  4. Informing our Community – It is critical time for our community to access trusted information, which is why we have developed materials for distribution through CARECEN’s social media networks and website. We know that our community will not only be in need of short-term relief.  A long road to recovery awaits, and CARECEN will be there to ensure that our community recovers and thrives in spite of this crisis.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Immigrant families in Los Angeles are facing a unique set of challenges today. In the Pico-Union/Westlake area, where CARECEN (Central American Resource Center) is located, over a third live below the federal poverty line and 65% identify as Latino/a. Poor economic mobility combined with increased ICE raids, racial & gender discrimination, the termination of immigration relief programs, and the threat of privatized education has disrupted learning environments for immigrant students. In fact, a UCLA Civil Rights Project study found that 57.4% of teachers and school administrators reported increased absenteeism when students had concerns about immigration enforcement affecting them and their families. Living in a constant state of fear over legal status being revoked and possible deportation, leads to a downturn in academic performance for un/documented families. Providing this space gives immigrant families the tools to be educational advocates for themselves and their community.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

15 years ago parents from the surrounding community came to CARECEN to develop our Parent & Youth Center (PYC). The aim of the PYC is to provide a safe space that empowers and strengthens immigrant families when it comes to education. We provide resources about LAUSD policies that give parents the confidence to advocate for their child’s education . While our youth programming is designed to support the goals of students and provide leadership training to advocate for their community. The PYC provides the following programs and services: Parent Leadership Development-Parents focus on leadership development and proactive organizing workshops. Youth Leadership Program-Youth undergo trainings focused on political consciousness and empowering students through modern skills and tools workshops. College Head Start- We provide academic counseling, college admission support, financial aid, and career mentoring for high school students.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

350
Direct impact
200
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

CARECEN’s Parent and Youth Center (PYC) has reduced and eliminated several barriers hindering the educational achievement of immigrant. Working alongside empowered parents and youth has led to successful education campaigns that affect the lives of our members. Our PYC programming has the capacity to transform Pico-Union/Westlake into a community of knowledge and grassroots power. We only support a fraction of the 25,000 low-income, monolingual Spanish-speaking Latino immigrants from Central America that makeup nearly 65% of households, but we must focus on communal leadership that aims to change inadequate school and community conditions for all residents. Resulting in an empowered community that transcends poverty through education.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

CARECEN aims to strengthen its capacity to recruit and develop parent and youth leaders, as well as execute effective social justice campaigns for educational equity and immigrant rights. Through our workshops, we support the development of community leaders in civic engagement and we move closer to our vision of empowering our communities to achieve personal and collective success. In addition, CARECEN provides comprehensive pre-collegiate services for high-school students looking to apply for university and college admission. The goal is to create a sustainable high school impact program where college readiness and graduation are the standard. We aim to achieve this by providing leadership and educational classes in our Parent and Youth Center that will accomplish the following:

*Ensure the immigrant and refugee student’s needs are being met in a comprehensive way so that barriers for educational attainment are addressed.

*Provide parents and / or adult family members with the knowledge and skills to support their children’s educational success.

*Provide students with the knowledge and skills in the areas of civic engagement and digital organizing.

*Develop well-trained parents and students advocating for school communities and policies that advance educational equity for immigrants and refugees in LAUSD.

*Monitor students’ academic progress so that they earn a high school diploma and gain admission to higher educational institution

*Ensure access to academic support for students and their families.

Measurable program objectives include:

*10-15 outreach / recruitment events will be scheduled every semester to introduce our programs to local schools, family resource centers, and community centers.

*15-20 parents will participate in the Parent Leadership Program each cohort. a.Parent Leadership cohort members will participate in bi-weekly workshops that address language barriers, the LAUSD system and the academic needs of their children. b.90% of participants will show a greater understanding of their role in their child’s education at the end of the program through a pre-post qualitative survey.

*15-20 youth will participate in the Youth Leadership Program each cohort. a.Youth Leadership cohort members will participate in workshops that cover art, activism, civic engagement and advocacy. b.90% of participants will show a greater understanding of community / digital organizing at the end of the program through a pre-post qualitative survey.

*15-20 11th and 12th grade students will participate in our College Head Start Program each cohort. a.College Head Start participants will be supported with college admissions application, scholarships, financial aid and build a comprehensive growth plan for their post-high school life. b.90% will understand the benefits and differences when applying to Universities, Community Colleges and Trade Schools. c.90% will be admitted to a University, Community College or Trade School.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Arts education
  • College matriculation
  • High school graduation rates

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Communications support
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation